The question "How do I find “early adopters” for a constructed language?" was closed. Please see the comments below the question for additional information, but for further questions/answers/comments on related to if this question is on or off topic, please use this page on meta, not the page for the question itself.

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    blunders, the data you posted is not necessary here. It can be read clicking on the link. Rather, it would be better if you could concentrate on why you disagree with it being closed. – Alenanno May 12 '12 at 13:27
  • @Alenanno: You clearly stated comments to the close where a better fit for meta, I've ported the question, and deleted my comments, and would ask you due to, since it was you're request, not mine to move the topic here. My issues stand as stated above in the ported comments and you have not addressed them, and said you would if the matter was move it meta. – blunders May 12 '12 at 13:32
  • Yes but porting everything here is just cluttering the question and removes space to your request. – Alenanno May 12 '12 at 13:33
  • @Alenanno: No, it's cluttering up the question, not meta, and makes it possible to gather all related information on the matter at hand in one place. Leaving the meta related comments on the question itself is poor form, and it would also be poor form to just delete them and start from scratch in my opinion. – blunders May 12 '12 at 13:41
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    regardless to how the question could have, should have been copied, a closed question is at risk of deletion and that is true on any stack exchange site, so there is some merit to (over)copying the text when moving to meta. – MatthewMartin May 12 '12 at 13:52
  • +1 @MatthewMartin: Agree, the question maybe deleted, and a link to a deleted question would provided no content. – blunders May 12 '12 at 14:10
  • It's not an action that deserves merit. If necessary, a moderator can recover the question for you. – Alenanno May 12 '12 at 14:23
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    @Alenanno: Not happy that I went to the effort to meet your request to ask on meta and so far you've not provided any additional feedback for why this question was closed as you promised to do. – blunders May 12 '12 at 14:58
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    Done. – Alenanno May 12 '12 at 15:24

Quoting myself from the above comments:

The underlying reason is probably that this is not part of the academic field of linguistics. And why is that? Because linguistics is about the way language works as a natural phenomenon, as perceived externally. So a constructed language is more about how an individual person would like to design an artistic project. That said, questions like why did Esperanto become more popular in x than in y? might be on topic, though perhaps they would be a better fit for History.SE. Questions about how do I find x? are only on topic if they ask for resources about linguistics.

  • So, are you saying that a collectively planned language would be a constructed language, and questions related to collective building of languages would be on topic, or am I reading to much into what you're saying? – blunders May 14 '12 at 13:36
  • @blunders: Umm I'm not sure, I'd have to see the question! But anything that is mainly about "how can/should be proceed in creating this language" would not be linguistics in my book, however interesting it is. – Cerberus May 14 '12 at 13:50
  • Okay, thought so, but wanted to make sure, thanks! – blunders May 14 '12 at 13:54

I'm going to take a stab at this question.

Conlang enthusiasts (and all three or four of the the conlang professionals) have a different standard of truth, different culture and a different audience from academic linguists.

The standard of truth and goodness in conlangs is closer to that for fiction writing than for science and science doesn't have much to say about what constitutes good fiction (or how to get fans for fiction).

The audience of conlang users is mostly hobbyists and for those hobbyists that are planning something big-- like a business, or political or social movement, they still haven't gotten past the hobby stage. [The sole exception being Esperanto]

With a different audience comes a different culture. In the conlang world, there is a lot patting on the back and evaluation of conlangs moral, artistic merits, because conlangers are a bunch of artists trying to create something.

Conlangs and linguistics do cross path time to time, for example Esperanto is spoken by native speakers, so it is a natural language, too. Some linguists use fake model languages in experimental linguistics, e.g. having subjects learn a few words of a fake language and observing how the people answer questions about it. These intersections are probably not big enough to warrant merging the conlang proposal and the linguistics SE for the reasons above.

I think the taxonomies that stack exchange uses to divide up human knowledge is imperfect, but they have a difficult task. SE alternative would be to allow all SE sites to become yahoo answer style sites, where everyone can ask anything, and from listening to the StackOverflow podcasts, it was a conscious decision by the sites founders to avoid any-thing-goes question sites. The down side of this is that some questions (like on conlnags) have no place to be asked and have a really hard task of getting enough followers to start a stack exchange style Q & A site for conlangs.

In the meanwhile, there are conlang Shapado sites out there, and there is the SE conlang proposal. Shapado is a stack exchange clone where you can ask questions today (but there isn't an audience) and the SE conlang proposal is ready to go live any decade now. Maybe Avatar 2 will bring enough people to the proposal to get it off the ground, we'll have to watch and see.

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    Point is that there's currently no better home for these types of questions on SE, that this SE is the most likely to be able to answer them, and that if SE conlang proposal reaches public-beta, they could easily be ported. – blunders May 12 '12 at 14:24
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    Also, I might note that this SE is in danger of being closed for good, "Sites shutting down, what is our position?", and that one of the suggested answers is to expand the scope of the site. – blunders May 12 '12 at 14:27
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    @blunders, surely you're aware that there is a Conlang proposal in the commit phase over at Area 51? That's the place for constructed language questions to (eventually) go. Also, I doubt that adding conlang questions would help this site much if it were in serious danger of shutting down, as many pro linguists (not me, as I am also a conlanger) dislike conlangs and would be turned off by a site that included them. – JSBձոգչ May 12 '12 at 18:06
  • @JSBᾶngs: Yes, I'm aware of the Conlang proposal, in fact, it's why I asked the question here, since it's still a proposal, I was looking an answer, and felt that this SE was the most likely to produce one. I agree with Mark Beadles answer saying we should allow questions of this type, and further believe that we should support these questions until the proposal is public. – blunders May 12 '12 at 18:13
  • Matthew, what is your point then? Are you pro-allowing them or against and why? – Alenanno May 13 '12 at 16:08
  • @Alenanno: From Matthew's answer, "These intersections are probably not big enough to warrant merging the conlang proposal and the linguistics SE for the reasons above." – blunders May 14 '12 at 1:08
  • @Alenanno I'm biased. I'm pro-conlangs and pro-conlang questions, but I know that if there was a cocktail party with 50% linguists and 50% conlang enthusiasts, that there would probably be some culture clash and unproductive bickering. So for that reason, it makes some sense to have a separate site and aligns with (my understanding) of Stack Exchange's goals of homogeneous (by topic) sites and homogeneous audiences.. All that said, I really hope that someday there is a place to ask conlang questions in a SE format, and if it turned out to the the linguistics site, I wouldn't be sad about that. – MatthewMartin May 14 '12 at 17:13
  • @MatthewMartin Have you seen this? :) – Alenanno May 14 '12 at 17:38

Questions about Constructed/Planned Languages have been deemed off topic since the Definition phase. I agree with that decision, because Linguistics is dedicated to natural languages evolution and not about the creation of artificial systems.

The site has some low visits, yes, but they're increasing and expanding the scope is not the right answer. What we need is to spread the site, make it so that more people know it and we'll have our visits. Expanding the scope is not the answer because our scope already covers all of the Linguistics fields, even the not "pure" ones. Your questions, as other previous ones, have been closed because of this policy, which wasn't clearly discussed in Meta (I think, haven't found the question), but that that went under discussion many times before now.

Concerning your claim about users not being forced to read the FAQ, well, it's true: you're not forced to read the FAQ. But then it shouldn't come as a surprise if your question gets closed as a result.

Moreover, I'd like to add that this is not me against you. I have no personal problems with you. I just took a decision as the mod that is here to enforce the rules.

Now that we're here, let me tell this too: if it wasn't off topic, your question would have been closed as not constructive. The close reason states:

This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

This is what you're doing: you're asking for opinions. It's not the quality questions we could get for this site. I'm sure you could get better questions than this one.

  • Yes, I know it's not me against you, and that I might come across as being such, but I'm only attempting to be direct, address the issue, and move on. Just because an item is listed in the FAQs as off-topic, or for that matter in some historic document, does not mean in my opinion that revisiting the topical scope of a domain is unwarranted. The fact is that even natural language are constructed over time, and some natural languages have even been constructed within the past 100 years. – blunders May 12 '12 at 17:10
  • As for being 'not constructive', you're inferring that I wanted opinion, which I don't, I want real research, based on quantitative data. – blunders May 12 '12 at 17:11
  • @blunders "How do I find..." is quite an ambiguous type of question. What type of answers does it suggest? You didn't write "tell me your opinion", but that's what this wording asks for. It would be great for a discussion, but not so great for a SE site. – Alenanno May 13 '12 at 8:39
  • I personally am not a big fan of conlangs. However, they do use elements from artificial languages in some language acquisition studies, esp. in connectionist psycholinguistics. Once again, I don't think highly of that kind of research but that's my personal opinion. – Alex B. May 14 '12 at 15:16

I am a dedicated conlanger. That's why I'm on this list. But I must agree that conlanging should be considered off-topic on the Linguistics Stack Exchange.

It is so very tiresome to hear people ask "Why make up languages when you could study real ones?" This is like asking a painter "Why paint imaginary meadows when you could get a degree in biology and study the ecology of real meadows?" I really shouldn't have to explain to thinking people that giving form to my whimsical fantasies differs greatly from scientific investigation.

My conlanging has been inestimably enriched by an acquaintance with linguistics. If my hobby were drawing monsters, I would see zoology in the same favorable light. But zoology does not include the study of dragons, and linguistics does not include the study of conlangs. So on this list, let's "keep it real," so to speak.

  • +1 Good comparisons, I think they bring a good perspective on the matter. :) – Alenanno May 12 '12 at 23:25
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    @Alenanno: Wrong, please be logical, creating new plants, virus, animals, etc. is not science fiction, nor is constructing languages. – blunders May 12 '12 at 23:27
  • @blunders Please pull yourself out of your perspective about your question. I understand you don't like your question to be closed, nobody does, but make my job easier: try to be objective. Do you really think your question is within Linguistics? You don't need to answer me, answer yourself. – Alenanno May 12 '12 at 23:30
  • @Alenanno: Your response requesting I be objective, is not a response to my proof/response that constructing languages is not science fiction. As for being objective, I am, SE goal is to answer questions, and you're saying linguist are unable to answer these questions, and I disagree. – blunders May 12 '12 at 23:39
  • @blunders I'm not saying linguists are unable to answer, rather that it's not within their studies and/or area of expertise/interest. – Alenanno May 12 '12 at 23:40
  • @Alenanno: An answer is better than no answer, and there's nothing wrong with being flexible, or learning to think about a subject from a new point of view; in fact, in my opinion, that's the fastest way to learn. – blunders May 12 '12 at 23:47
  • @blunders Probably, but on SEs there are rules. The site must be about that topic, outside of it, nothing is allowed (unless you can cleverly word your question so that it also answers your off topic question :) ...) – Alenanno May 13 '12 at 0:03
  • @Alenanno: I'm aware it would be easier to be clever, but that does not change the fact that I believe a topic that linguist are able to answer is ontopic. – blunders May 13 '12 at 1:04
  • @Alenanno: Fine, you requested I be clever, so I've made an attempt to be clever, please review the update, delete your now offtopic comments on the question, reopen the question, and if the question is still not on topic, please comment on the question itself. Thanks. – blunders May 13 '12 at 14:21
  • @Alenanno: From you, "If there is a constructed languages with native speakers, then we could think of allowing it." - I've updated the answer, and guessing you've seen the update too. Is there a reason you're not replying? – blunders May 14 '12 at 1:09
  • @blunders I'm not here 24/7, I also have a life. :P Anyway, I'm not the one who decides, I'm not the emperor of this site. If you want Esperanto to be allowed, I think it'd be best to have a wide support from the community to see it's wanted, otherwise no. So I suggest two things: (1), you make a Meta question (I'll help you with it if you need help), and (2): we talk about it in our next (first) chat meeting. – Alenanno May 14 '12 at 9:50
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    @blunders I did it. – Alenanno May 14 '12 at 11:20
  • +1 @Alenanno: Thanks, one thing I might note is that in my opinion it should be clear to voters on that page that only upvote will be counted, otherwise people may not realize the need to vote twice to insure their votes count, or are not undone by users voting twice. – blunders May 14 '12 at 12:20
  • @blunders Until now, it received only upvotes, I wouldn't worry about that too much! :) – Alenanno May 14 '12 at 12:57
  • @Alenanno: Okay, my rep is too low on this SE to see the voting breakdowns. Just thought I'd point it out, since I realized it would not be fair to vote twice when I went to vote. :) – blunders May 14 '12 at 13:02

At times like these I wonder if we shouldn't consider expanding our scope to include conlangs.

Stackexchanges have been shut down recently and our own numbers aren't that great. Meanwhile, the Conlang proposal is languishing at 29% in Commitment phase.

I know people want to not "clutter" the site with the possibility of many less-than-professional questions, and I tend that way myself. But I wonder if it wouldn't be better to expand and keep alive rather than remain closed and wither. "We must all stand together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately"?

  • +1 @Mark Beadles: Agree, the goal of SE is to answer questions, and I don't believe that allowing questions of this type will result in other questions not being answered, in fact, I believe the opposite is more likely, that more questions will be asked and answered within the existing domain as a result of expanding the topical scope of a domain. Further, there is no reason that the Conlang proposal need not go on, or that if it reaches a public-beta that the questions could not be ported. – blunders May 12 '12 at 18:05

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